In a PPC campaign, tracking the right metrics is important. AdWords conversion tracking and Bing conversion tracking must be carefully implemented on websites for PPC campaigns.
The two biggest PPC tracking issues are failing to track the right metrics at a sufficiently granular level, and ignoring or mishandling phone tracking. Phone tracking is especially important for lead generation campaigns, because phone conversions tend to be of higher quality and urgency than form submissions.
PPC Tracking in Google Analytics
- CPC tracking is obviously critical to track, as cost-per-click has direct impact on return-on-investment for PPC campaigns.
- Event tracking enables advertisers to track user interactions for specific on-page activities, such as the number of downloads for a particular PDF(s) on a landing page, and on what day the actions occurred. Event tracking is extremely useful when testing; in this case, for example, the appeal of different PDF downloads.
- Goal tracking applies to five types of user activities: visits to a specific destination URL; duration of a session; user views of a specified number of pages or screens; and completions of an Event (see above). Goal tracking is most effective when a value is established for each activity. In addition, when goal tracking defines a path (funnel) for traffic leading toward a goal, this tracking technique enables advertisers to identify weaknesses in their conversion funnel (i.e., pages or screens when potential customers or prospects click off).
- Conversion rate tracking is easy to set up within Google Analytics. Conversion tracking enables advertisers to track both online and offline conversion rates, and what keywords led to those conversions. Conversion rate tracking helps determine which ad keywords are generating the best return-on-investment.
- E-commerce tracking enables e-commerce advertisers to understand what products are being purchased; what quantity of products is being purchased; how much revenue products generate; transaction data, including revenue, tax, and shipping cost; and the number of days and sessions required to complete a purchase during a campaign. This data helps online stores target the most popular and profitable products, adjust pricing and promotions to optimize purchase quantities, predict sales patterns, and make other changes to increase overall sales and profitability.
Both Google and Bing provide special conversion code enabling advertisers to implement AdWords conversion tracking and Bing Ads conversion tracking. Conversion tracking should be set up for form submissions and phone calls; as mentioned earlier, phone calls can be very high-quality leads, which, if left untracked, cause advertisers to underestimate the ROI of their PPC campaigns.
Conversion tracking allows advertisers to see which keywords, which days, and which times of day conversions occur. This data is crucial for continuously improving campaigns by adjusting target keywords and the timing of bids. A final step in conversion tracking, however, must be done outside of the Google and Bing platforms: lead validation. Lead validation separates true sales leads from other types of conversions. For instance, when a user downloads a PDF, the user could be a potential customer — or it could be a competitor, a supplier or a curious Internet marketing sales rep. Substantial data from Straight North's client PPC tracking indicates as much as 40% of conversions are something other than sales leads. Lead validation prevents advertisers from overestimating the success of their campaigns and making incorrect adjustments to their campaign.
Split Test Tracking
Split testing, and multivariate testing for complex PPC campaigns, paves the way for substantial improvement in campaign return-on-investment. A simple change like a bigger "buy" button could lead to double-digit increases in conversion rates, as could a more involved change such as a completely redesigned landing page. A variety of software tools are available to track metrics for A/B split testing and multivariate testing.
PPC tracking not only improves campaign results, it also helps advertisers improve the entire online user experience. For instance, Google Analytics goal tracking could point out a flaw in the conversion funnel early on, on a product detail page where users are clicking off in high number. For the most part, tracking tools are low cost or no cost to advertisers; the challenge is to find a PPC management agency with enough knowledge to get the most out of them.